Words Can Save Lives


Dietrich Fischer – TRANSCEND Media Service

A Sufi Story by an Unknown Author

A group of frogs were walking through a forest. Suddenly, two of them fell into a hole. All the other frogs gathered around the hole and looked down over the edge.

When they saw how deep it was, they told the unfortunate frogs, “You will never get out of here alive. Don’t even try. Just give up and die.”

One of the frogs tried a few times in vain to jump out, then gave up and lay on the ground. The other frog kept trying again and again, jumping as hard as he could.

The crowd of frogs shouted to him, “Stop it! End the pain. You have no hope; you are as good as dead!”

He jumped even harder and finally jumped out. When he got out, the other frogs asked him, “Why did you continue jumping? Didn’t you hear that we told you to stop?”

The frog explained, “No, I am hard of hearing. I thought you were encouraging me the whole time!”

A tongue is not a bone, but it can break bones. It has power over life and death. An encouraging word to those who are in trouble can help save them, whereas a destructive word can take away their hope and make them give up. Let us be careful in what we say and not discourage someone in difficult times.


Dietrich Fischer (1941-2015) from Münsingen, Switzerland, got a Licentiate in Mathematics from the University of Bern 1968 and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University 1976. 1986-88 he was a MacArthur Fellow in International Peace and Security at Princeton University. He has taught mathematics, computer science, economics and peace studies at various universities and been a consultant to the United Nations. He was co-founder, with Johan Galtung, of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment in 1993.

Excerpted from Dietrich Fischer’s Stories to Inspire You – TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 30 Apr 2018.

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One Response to “Words Can Save Lives”

  1. Gary Corseri. says:

    Decades ago, I read a book by Indries Shah, consisting of Sufi tales–like this one. Like the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament, some of Jesus’ parables in the New Testament, Buddha’s story of the ‘mustard seed”–these are basically folk tales and folk-wisdom raised to the highest level.

    In our globalizing world, it behooves us to familiarize ourselves with these different tales, different insights, that can unite us.